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9 reasons why good employees quit

Julianne Leybag
04 February 2017 4 minute readShare
Resignation letter

Contrary to what most people think, good employees tend to leave managers, not companies – and the reasons for this can be quite diverse. My Business discusses nine reasons why good employees quit.

Finding good employees can be really tough—and it’s even worse when these good employees walk out of businesses. When employees leave, managers will often look to blame anything and everything else and ignore the fact that, for the most part, employees leave managers, not jobs.

There are many different reasons why good employees leave managers, not companies. These nine factors stand out and play a significant role in sending your good employees packing:

  1. Lack of positive reinforcement
  2. Managers don’t care for employees
  3. Employees are constantly overworked
  4. The wrong people get hired/get promoted
  5. Employees are not given avenues to pursue their interests
  6. Lack of substantial employee feedback
  7. Lack of career growth
  8. Hiring and promoting underperformers alongside hardworking employees
  9. Failing to give proper compensation

Reason #1: Lack of positive reinforcement

When promoting and maintaining a healthy office culture, managers can easily underestimate the power of small positive gestures, such as a thumbs-up or a verbal acknowledgement for every job well done.

The lack of positive reinforcement to individual employees can lower morale and motivation levels. Investing in positive reinforcement also helps in motivating employees while pushing them to do their best.

Reason #2: Managers don’t care for employees

Surveys have shown that many people who leave their jobs cite their relationships with their higher-ups as one of the main reasons why they choose to leave a company. While it is important to maintain a professional aura during work, it doesn’t hurt to be personal sometimes and genuinely ask team members how they are doing.

Bosses who are genuinely caring and respectful are not only much more likely to earn the respect of their employees, but are also more likely to see what improvements are needed within the business.

Reason #3: Employees are constantly overworked

There are probably very few managers who don’t want hard-working employees on their team. However, this kind of thinking can either make or break a business: managers can easily fall into a trap of pushing their good employees to the edge by overworking them.

Studies have shown that overworked employees can be detrimental and counterproductive, as productivity declines after a certain period.

Managers have a great deal of responsibility when it comes to maintaining a solid work/life balance among their employees, by refraining from overworking and ensuring that this balance is maintained so that good employees don’t burn out and stay within the business.

Reason #4: The wrong people get hired/get promoted

Good employees must be able to work alongside equally good and competent colleagues for them to realise their full potential in the business.

When managers regularly hire and promote the wrong kinds of people, good employees are demotivated and their productivity levels fall – eventually compelling them to leave the business in search of better workmates.

Reason #5: Employees are not given avenues to pursue their interests

Good employees are almost always passionate human beings. Employees who are given various avenues to pursue these personal passions, where relevant, tend to perform better at work, as this fuels their overall creativity, motivation and hence productivity.

However, a lot of managers have the misconception that by allowing employees to pursue their interests, this would instead hinder their work productivity. Enclosing employees in a box not only stifles creativity, but also takes a toll on their entire work performance and, in time, any loyalty they may have had to their employer.

Reason #6: Lack of substantial employee feedback

One of the primary responsibilities of managers is to give regular and adequate feedback to their employees. This ensures that employees keep improving and growing under the business, for mutual benefit.

Managers who fail to give regular and substantial feedback usually face a bigger onslaught: good employees choosing to leave the company.

While positive feedback is nice, managers shouldn’t be afraid of giving constructive criticism, in order to help employees further improve and refine their skills. 

Reason #7: Lack of career growth

Career advancement is one of the main reasons why an employee chooses to work for and stay with a company. Hence for managers to be able to retain staff, they must try to open opportunities for employee career growth wherever possible – allowing employees to grow together with the business.

Once it becomes evident that there are no more opportunities left to strive for, this lack of career growth might cause employees to slack off and become unproductive as boredom and frustration sets in, or up and leave to a competing business with more opportunities.

Reason #8: Hiring and promoting underperformers alongside hardworking employees

When underperformers get promoted in a company, ahead of more appropriate and skilled people, things can get pretty bad. Disillusionment sets in and people directly overlooked for promotion, as well as their colleagues seeking out their own opportunities, can become inclined to cut and run to another business.

Managers should be able to give credit where credit is due by recognising the hard work of their employees, allowing them to advance their careers within the business. By doing this, managers can potentially motivate underperformers to put their best foot forward.

Reason #9: Failing to give proper compensation

Though giving employees positive reinforcement and creating a healthy work environment is definitely a good thing, no one works for free, making remuneration a critical factor.

Both managers and the business must ensure that their employees get proper compensation for the work they do, reflecting market rates for their level of skills and experience. Many employers also provide other forms of financial incentives, including bonuses, commissions or shares in the company, to reward achievement.

Regularly-scheduled pay rises, usually annually, also help employees to at least keep pace with inflation, reducing the chances of them feeling forced to seek out higher paying jobs elsewhere just to maintain their income.

9 reasons why good employees quit
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Julianne Leybag

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